Customized Stop-the-Slip Solutions
For Outdoor Concrete Steps

Reducing Slips and Falls on Spalling Concrete Steps

Especially in areas where there’s snow and ice, outdoor concrete steps can take a real beating.  As the photos below suggest, it’s not uncommon for concrete steps to chip and crack making them very dangerous any time of year. If you live in a colder climate, the freeze and thaw cycles will accelerate the concrete’s failure and the salt you apply to combat any ice formation will only make matters worse.

Indeed, when the snow or ice comes, and you shovel the steps, the spalling chips of concrete will be scraped up by the shovel, creating even more cracks for water to invade and ice to form. It’s an endless cycle that often leads to cracked steps and human slips and falls.

If your concrete stairs are cracking or broken at the front of the tread, Handi-Treads nosings are the perfect solution. Because Handi-Treads are made from a sturdy, single piece of aluminum, they act like a splint when attached to the concrete. Handi-Treads nosings come in several widths, including 2.75″, 6″ and 9″. We offer a variety of lengths, including 30″, 36″, 48″ and custom sizes to fit a wide range to stair sizes.

Not only do the aluminum nosings cover the rough edge of the concrete step, making them safer, the raised traction buttons enhance traction in ice and snow, something that’s unique to Handi-Treads nosings.

Your Stop-the-Slip Solutions Graded:

Handi-Treads: A-

If you’ve got concrete steps that are pitted or starting to crack, Handi-Treads can actually extend the life of the concrete treads.  Because Handi-Treads are made from a single piece of aluminum, they act like a splint when attached to concrete with lags and screws. Properly installed, Handi-Treads can simultaneously help to stabilize the concrete and  improve traction in nearly any weather conditions.

The raised traction buttons of the aluminum treads are uniquely self-cleaning. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons disperses the layer of water, frost, or snow, creating solid contact between the tread and shoe.

Once installed, no maintenance is required for Handi-Treads aluminum treads, which are guaranteed to last a lifetime in residential conditions. Installation is simple and straightforward, but it’s important to remember that you’ll need to order concrete lags for installation.

If you live in an area where it snows, you’ll find that you can use a snow shovel on your aluminum treads without fear of damaging them. This is not the case with most other solutions.

Because Handi-Treads are a lifetime solution, their initial cost is higher. When calculated over a three to five year performance period however, the investment in Handi-Treads is often the most-cost effective solution.

Total Score: A

Effectiveness: A
Installation & Maintenance: A
Durability: A
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: A

Handi-Treads Nosings: A-

Concrete steps often crack and chip at the front end of the step which can lead to dangerous conditions. Handi-Treads nosings are the perfect solution because they are made from a sturdy, single piece of aluminum that can cover the chips and cracks and act like a splint when attached to the concrete.

Handi-Treads nosings come in several widths, including 2.75″ in our consumer version and, 2.75″, 6″ and 9″ in our thicker, commercial nosing. This means you can cover almost a complete concrete tread with the nosing, often eliminating the need to do a complete rebuild of the concrete steps.

The raised traction buttons of the aluminum tread are uniquely self-cleaning. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons disperses the layer of water, frost, or snow, creating solid contact between the tread and shoe.

Once installed, no maintenance is required for Handi-Treads nosings, which are guaranteed to last a lifetime in a residential environment. You will need concrete pin anchors or 3/4″ #8 anchors and screws for installation.

If you live in an area where it snows, you’ll find that you can use a snow shovel on your Handi-Treads nosings without fear of damage. This is not the case with grit tape, rubber mats, or most other solutions.

Because Handi-Treads nosings are a lifetime solution, their initial cost is higher. When calculated over a three to five year performance period however, the investment in Handi-Treads nosings is often the most-cost effective solution.

handi-treads-nosing-unfinished-deteriorating-concrete-steps

Total Score: A-

Effectiveness: A
Installation & Maintenance: A
Durability: A
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: A

Rubber or Door Mat Style Treads: C-

Door-mat style and rubber treads are two of the most common solutions to slippery outdoor concrete steps, but really aren’t appropriate when the stair lip is deteriorating. Door mat style treads improve grip when wet, but their effectiveness varies based on the material used and the aggressiveness of their texture. They are also less effective with leather-soled shoes.

Both rubber and door-mat style treads are effective in winter weather only if they are kept free of snow. Care must be taken when using a snow shovel with rubber treads, as even a plastic blade can cut the rubber. Deeply grooved rubber treads also catch and hold dirt, requiring them to be hosed down several times a year.

Installation and maintenance of rubber and door-mat style treads can be challenging on outdoor concrete stairs that are deteriorating. Some of the manufacturers suggest just placing the “anti-slip” treads on the stairs. We think this is bad idea as the treads might actually become a hazard themselves if you were to catch a toe, or were the treads to move under the heavy pressure of a person starting to slip.

We can only recommend rubber or door-mat style treads if you permanently affix them to your stairs with lags and screws. Both of these types of treads wear down with use. Depending upon thickness and quality of the material, you can expect rubber or door mat style treads to last 2 to 3 years when installed on concrete steps that are deteriorating.

Total Score: C-

Effectiveness: C
Installation & Maintenance: D
Durability: D
Initial Price: B
Long-Term Value: C

Grit Paint: F

If your concrete steps are deteriorating, grit paint will not be an acceptable solution. For example, if the concrete steps are flaking, the paint will flake off as well, leaving gaps in coverage that wet and winter weather will soon attack. 

Similarly, anti-slip paint will do nothing to fix the deterioration of the lips of concrete steps.  If there are irregularities on the lips of the treads that could cause a slip and fall, they will remain after the grip paint is applied. 

For these reasons we do not recommend grit paint on concrete steps that are in a state of disrepair and decay.

Total Score: F

Effectiveness: F
Installation & Maintenance: N/A
Durability: F
Initial Price: N/A
Long-Term Value: F